Being a dad is expensive.
Pay day joy only lasts a few moments until the realisation arrives that the money earned for a whole month now needs to be spent.
My girls are still very young, so most of this expense comes in essential items such as food, nappies, wipes etc.
But I’m told by friends and family that the most expensive days are still to come. The teenage years get mentioned often.
Thankfully, at 10-months-old and two, my girls aren’t yet asking for the latest games console or a pair of trainers that will require us to remortgage our house.
One thing I’ve learnt recently is that fun with my girls doesn’t have to cost anything.
I could take them to the zoo or the local swimming centre. But at the moment, whilst trying to watch the pennies, it’s about finding something that will give them just as much enjoyment and fun but won’t include my wallet getting lighter.
Recently, when we had a rare warm winter’s day, I took Caitlin to the local park.
There were no tickets to buy and no money left my wallet. Yet there was so much for Caitlin to do, including a choice of three slides.
One slide was a mini-version that looked like it was designed for pre-schoolers.
Another was a more standard slide, slightly bigger and more steep for a child that was a bit more daring, or had at least left pre-school.
And then there was the third slide. This one was completely different and designed for the more thrill-seeking child – one that could grow up with a love of bungee jumping, or dropping from a plane with a parachute strapped on their back.
The child that dared to go on this piece of playground equipment would not travel in a straight line but instead have a circular journey to the bottom.
It was even painted red, the colour of danger.
After going on the pre-school slide and the slightly bigger and steeper slide, Caitlin still didn’t look satisfied.
Then she spotted the big, red, spiral monster and made her way to the very top.
Without a thought, she stood with her hands on the metal safety bars and launched herself forward.
When she reached the end, her legs and bottom were up in the air and she was balancing on her back.
I thought this would have put her off going on the red beast a second time but with a smile on her face, off she went for another go.
So much fun with no cost at all. In fact, it took some persuading to get Caitlin to leave the park.
Although, if she asks to go bungee jumping in 16 years’ time, I only have myself to blame.